It's not supposed to be this easy for Dante Hall. Today it wasn't. The Denver Broncos had a brilliant game plan as they came out firing. Even more brilliant was Jake Plummer. He proved he could make plays in a big game. He moved around the pocket, hit receivers and almost willed his team to victory.
But Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith got things off to a flying start. On the Broncos second possession of the game, Smith ran behind Plummer and instead of running the reverse he found Clinton Portis for a 73-yard catch and run.
But the Broncos went back to work on offense and Jake Plummer moving to his left found tight end Dwayne Carswell from six yards out for a 7-0 Broncos lead. The Broncos held the Chiefs three and out and suddenly Denver had all the momentum.
However, they quickly gave it back to the Chiefs. Broncos return man and starting cornerback Deltha O'Neal fumbled the punt and Kansas City recovered. With a short field from the 30-yard line and after two failed running plays, the Chiefs passing offense finally went to work.
Chiefs quarterback Trent Green under extreme pressure found tight end Tony Gonzalez in the front of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Gonzalez hauled in the pass over Broncos nickel back Nate Ferguson. Green took a shot from Al Wilson the Broncos speedy linebacker but hung in the pocket long enough to complete the pass that tied the score at 7-7.
In the second quarter, the Broncos connected on a 48-yard field goal by Jason Elam. On the ensuing possession and the Chiefs down by three points, Holmes ran all over the Broncos defense. But as the Chiefs faced a third and goal from the five yard line, they tried a little trickery.
Holmes took the pitch from Green and then lofted a pass to the corner of the end zone to a wide open Eddie Kennison. Kennison caught the pass for an apparent touchdown. But after an official review, Kennison was ruled out of bounds. Had Holmes thrown the ball toward the back of the end zone, Kennison had plenty of room to score. But the ball drifted to his left and he could not get both feet in bounds.
The Chiefs settled for a 23-yard field goal to tie the score at 10-10. The Chiefs were very lucky on the play as prior to the eventual field goal kick by Morten Andersen; the ball was snapped prior to the clock starting and Andersen pushed the ball to the right.
But the Broncos ended the first half scoring when Elam connected on his second field goal of the day from 29-yards. The Broncos led 13-10 at halftime.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Broncos went to work. After a first down and two running plays to Clinton Portis, he Broncos talented back made the Chiefs pay for a blown defensive assignment.
Portis ripped through a huge hole off tackle and ran the next 65-yards untouched to the end zone and a ten point Broncos lead, 20-10.
But the Chiefs striked quickly as Trent Green went to the passing game. In two short minutes, Green moved his team to the Broncos twenty-eight yard line where he hooked up with Johnnie Morton for a touchdown. Green used play action and Morton ran a perfect route to the left side of the end zone. Morton's touchdown catch brought the Chiefs to within three points, 20-17.
The Broncos then ran almost eight minutes off the clock and had the ball on the Chiefs five yard line with four fresh downs. But Clinton Portis was stuffed three times, the last by Eric Downing for a loss and Denver settled for another Elam field goal from 21 yards.
After a sizzling 48-yard kick-off return by Hall, the Chiefs offense failed to get a first down from midfield. The Broncos got the ball back and quickly moved into Kansas City territory. But the Chiefs defense stiffened as Shawn Barber put pressure on Plummer on third and eight play.
Denver was forced to punt and that set up the play of the day.
Hall received the ball at his own seven-yard line. He moved to his right, made two guys whiff on tackles and reversed his field and headed toward his own end zone. But as he turned, Derrick Blaylock leveled two Broncos defenders and Hall ran around the pursuit and was heaaded down the Broncos sidelines.
At his own ten yard line, Hall was in the clear with a plethora of blockers ahead of him. The punter was leveled at the fifty and Hall breezed into the end zone giving the Chiefs their first lead of the day 24-23. Hall's return electrified the 80,000 Arrowhead fans and the touchdown return appeared to momentarily defeat the Broncos spirits.
But that wasn't the case.
Plummer led his team into Chiefs territory in short order. Again the Chiefs defense held firm but the Broncos had a chance to take the lead with a successful 53-yard field goal. But Elam missed the ball to the left and the Chiefs held.
With five minutes to go, Kansas City had the ball at the Broncos 43-yard line. They chewed up the ball on the ground with Holmes. On a third and two, Holmes with one more first down would have sealed the game, did the unthinkable.
After a crazy game when loose balls were scattered all over the field, Holmes fumbled. Holmes had broken into the secondary but on the Broncos twenty yard line, Broncos defender knocked the ball out Holmes hands and Denver recovered it on their seven yard-line.
But after an initial first down and near interception by Chiefs linebacker Shawn Barber, Denver faced a forth and six from the Chiefs 34 yard line. Plummer tried to hit wide receiver Ed McCaffrey for a first down but the ball was behind him and Chiefs linebacker Scott Fujita knocked the veteran Broncos receiver on the ground as the pass fell incomplete.
With the victory and new NFL record by Dante Hall, the Chiefs move to 5-0 and atop the AFC West. Next week they go back on the road to face the suddenly red hot Green Bay Packers in restored Lambeau field next Sunday.